Bit of background on Frankfurt airport politics
This is the Frankfurt theme song
Frankfurt song, which the protesters sing loudly at their regular Monday evening airport terminal invasions. With a very catchy chorus “Unsere Forderung wird immer lauter Die Landebahn muss weg” means “Our challenge is getting louder. The Runway Must Go”.
News about Frankfurt Airport:
The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January
The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise. Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending. The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope….) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal. Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people – sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.
The 3rd terminal
In 2009, the German government decided to create third terminals for both Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport, in order to handle expected passenger flows of 90 million in Frankfurt by 2020 and 50 million in Munich by 2017.
The new terminal is scheduled to be built by Fraport, south of the existing terminals on the grounds of the former Rhein-Main Air Base. The new Terminal 3 is to accommodate up to 25 million passengers and will feature 75 new aircraft positions when completely constructed. An extension of the SkyLine people mover system is planned to connect the new terminal to Terminals 1 and 2 and the airport train stations.
In August 2014, the city of Frankfurt granted building permission for the first phase of Terminal 3. The groundbreaking for the new Terminal took place on 5 October 2015. Its first phase, consisting of the main building and two of the planned four piers, is planned to open by 2022 and will be able to handle 15 million additional passengers per year. Total costs are estimated at €3 billion.
Residents around Frankfurt hold their 150th huge Monday evening protest against aircraft noise
On Monday 28th September, the 150th Monday evening protest against aircraft noise, due to the new runway, took place at Frankfurt airport. The new 4th runway was opened in October 2011, to the north west of the airport, and caused not only new flight paths but changes to existing flight paths. People had not been expecting the noise problem to be so bad. As soon as the runway opened, residents starting protesting against the noise – that was stopping them sleeping, reducing their quality of life, preventing them enjoying relaxing outside under flight paths, and reducing the prices of their homes. They started protests in the airport Terminal 1 (almost) every Monday evening. These are attended by between about 600 and 3,000 people. That is an astonishing achievement, and manifestation of real anger and determination by the thousands affected by plane noise. They are concerned now that the protests are seen to be becoming routine, and there is some appetite for more radical action, especially now that work is due to start very soon on a deeply opposed 3rd airport terminal. The style of protesting may perhaps now change. In German airport buildings are public property, so protesters are entitled to congregate in the terminal.
Protesters set up camp in forest due to be cleared for Frankfurt airport 3rd terminal and access road
The operator of Frankfurt airport, Fraport, is planning a 3rd terminal, as it claims this is needed for it to remain competitive against other European hub airports. This new terminal would add enough capacity for 14 million more passengers a year when it opens in the first half of 2022. The airport can currently handle 64 million, but Fraport says there will be demand for 68 million to 73 million passengers by 2021. Over 4 days, airport protesters set up a camp in the nearby Treburger Oberwald forest, that is to be cleared in the course of the construction of a third terminal at Frankfurt airport. The peaceful event, “Forest instead of concrete,” organised by the group, Robin Wood, made the point that not only would be increased number of flights increase the carbon emissions of German aviation, but the loss of some 60 hectares of forest for the terminal and access road would also increase CO2. The protesters also hang up a banner in protest outside the concrete and gravel supplier Sehring, which profits from the environmentally damaging construction projects. Before the construction of the new north-west runway, the activists had occupied trees in Kelsterbach Forest for 9 months until their camp was cleared in February 2009 by the police.
Noise demonstration blasts 80 dB recorded plane noise outside home of Frankfurt airport CEO for 2 hours
As a protest against the level of aircraft noise that people living near Frankfurt airport are exposed to – especially since the opening of the 4th runway in October 2011 – people have bombarded the home of the airport Chief Executive, Stefan Schulte, with noise. Citizens in a convoy of about 40 cars parked outside his house, in a small town north of Frankfurt,. They set up loudspeakers and ghetto blasters in their cars, and rolled down the car windows in order to blast out noise, at about 80 decibels. That is loudest the police allowed them to use. The noise went on for two hours, with two breaks. The protest was by people living in areas across Rhein-Main who are badly affected by noise from flight paths. The noise they used was of planes, recorded at Niederrad Sachsenhausen, which is an area about 3 km to the north east of the airport. After some time of the noise bombardment, the CEO’s automatic garage door opened, and he set off in his car for work at the airport. One of the protesters commented that they did not understand how Herr Schulte is able to say society must just endure such levels of noise. Asked if the protest had been successful, one protester commented that it had been if the media and more members of the public are aware of the issue.
Frankfurt airport campaigner finds large plane flap that fell from aircraft into forest under approach path
On 14th October, an airport campaigner from Frankfurt was walking with his dog in the forest near Frankfurt airport, overflown by an arrival flight path. He spotted an object lying near the path, which turned out to be a huge plane landing flap. Summoning colleagues they photographed it thoroughly, and then called the police. The flap was removed by the police and is being investigated by the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation (BFU). Frankfurt airport was aware that a flap had been lost a week earlier, and police said they had searched for it unsuccessfully. The airport initially tried to say it was lost by another plane some years back, but the flap was obviously clean and recently fallen. From markings on the flap, it is clear it is from a Korean cargo plane, and an observer at the time of the incident reported seeing something fall from a light blue plane. There had been similar incident, involving a Korean cargo plane, in 2009. As the flap is about 3 – 4 metres long and weighs between 30 – 50kg, it is fortunate it only landed in forest. But it was only 300 metres from the busy A661 road.
Noise protesters block part of Frankfurt airport for about an hour
Opponents of the noise misery inflicted on them by Frankfurt airport’s 4th runway, there has been a fresh protest at the airport. There have been regular large protests at the airport on most Monday evenings, ever since the opening of the 4th runway on 21.10.2011. On Saturday there was a different sort of protest, when people started off in a similar protest to the Monday evenings, but they then blocked the road access to the departures area for around an hour. That caused considerable disruption to the airport, as departures had to be closed. This is the first protest blocking a road. Before the runway was opened, citizens were barely consulted about the flight paths. Only their local authorities were given any information, and all were assured there would be hardly any more noise. The reality was sharply different, and flight paths were changed to accommodate the new runway, meaning thousands are affected by noise, not only on the direct approach path. One protester commented that as the airport aggravates them for 18 hours per day, they were entitled to aggravate the airport for one hour.
Indignation in Frankfurt at the approval of the 3rd Terminal, for yet more flights and more noise
Frankfurt airport protesters continue their huge gatherings on most Monday evenings (they have a break in the summer, and do vigils instead). There have now been 108 Monday protests and 34 vigils, with around 1,000 at the protests and around 100 at the vigils. After the news that planning had been granted for a 3rd Frankfurt airport terminal, there were far more people than usual at the vigil, with around 500, mobilised by the news. It was “the first Monday after the Tuesday,” and people were deeply angry at the news, and that it had been broken in August, in the holiday period. The terminal enables the airport to grow, with more flights and more passengers. That means more noise misery for the thousands who already find the over-flights unacceptable. Opponents want the right to sleep, which they say is a fundamental right that is destroyed by aircraft noise. It is unacceptable for people to be rudely woken from their sleep at 5am and that they can no longer sit in the garden when the weather is good is described as “a monstrosity”. “We do not want to live like this.” Opponents hope the decision can be reversed, when there is a proper study of the surface transport infrastructure required for a new terminal.
Frankfurt Airport given planning permission to build Terminal 3, to increase passenger number
Frankfurt airport currently has 2 passenger terminals with a capacity of approximately 65 million passengers per year, plus 4 runways. In 2009, the German government decided there should be a new Terminal 3 in order to handle the expected passenger flow of 90 million per year by 2020. The new terminal is scheduled to be built by Fraport, south of the existing terminals. Fraport has now announced that it has been granted approval of its planning application, by the city of Frankfurt. However, it still needs a demand assessment. The building of a new terminal has been deeply controversial, and has been strongly opposed – as it is a means by which the airport can grow substantially. Fraport hopes the first phase of construction will start next year. Fraport say the airport will reach its maximum passenger capacity of about 64-68 million passengers a year by 2021 and that the new terminal when finished will allow it to serve up to 25 million more. Opponents say the airport already creates too much noise and does not need to be expanded. The CDU and the Greens said in their coalition agreement at the end of 2013 that they were in favour of looking at alternatives to building a new terminal. Opponents say they will keep fighting the expansion plans.
Over 4,000 take part in Frankfurt’s 100th protest evening – including supporters from Heathrow and Gatwick
May 20, 2014 Many more photos, and video links
The 4th runway at Frankfurt airport was opened in October 2011. The flightpaths for this runway overfly thousands of residents in the Frankfurt, many of whom had not previously been overflown. They suddenly found the noise of aircraft overhead every few minutes, relentlessly (day after day, week after week) for most of the day intolerable. Other areas were also affected by changes to flight paths. Ever since the opening, the people of Frankfurt have absolutely refused to accept this, and have campaigned continuously and relentlessly. They hold unique and remarkable protests, almost every Monday night, in the airport terminal. These are attended by well over 1,000 people, every time. On 19th May, the 100th airport terminal protest was held, with around 4,000 (maybe more) protesters. Some campaigners from the Heathrow and Gatwick campaigns went out (by train) to show solidarity and share this remarkable achievement with their German friends. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN and of AirportWatch, addressed the protest, saying they were making aviation history, and the tenacity, persistence and determination of the opposition to Frankfurt flights is increasingly a matter of concern to the aviation industry.
Frankfurt airport – the Monday protests continue
http://bambuser.com/v/4473498 ( 8 minute video clip)
What respectable residents get up to in Frankfurt every Monday evening in the airport terminal! The opponents of the hated 4th runway at Frankfurt continue to occupy the airport terminal almost every Monday evening. This is their 94th, on March 25th. This a great bit of video. They attack the runway mock-up, taking it in turns (to a background chorus of “Die Bahn Muss Weg) = the runway must go ) to don safety goggles and a hard hat, to shatter the runway into pieces with a sledge hammer. And a lot of passion. Hilarious. Spectacular and entertaining video
On Monday, opponents of the Frankfurt 4th runway celebrated the 2nd anniversary of their weekly protests
Date added: October 23, 2013
At Frankfurt, the Monday evening protests continue. They have just had, on Monday 21st, the second anniversary of the start of the protests. There have been so far a total of 75 Monday evening airport protests, and 19 vigils. Some of the terminal protests (German airport terminals are deemed to be public property, so people cannot legally be prevented from gathering there) had over 1,000 people. This week it was perhaps 250, but still noisy and determined. Residents now suffering aircraft noise, and an incomplete night fight ban say Fluglarm macht krank (aircraft noise makes you sick) and fear they are not only unproductive at work, and stressed, but also suffering health impacts from the noise and disturbed sleep. They are deeply opposed to the proposed plans to build a third airport terminal, which they say is not needed, and which would only contribute to pressure for yet more flights. Asian travellers passing through the airport are reported to be amazed and bemused, and take photos of the protests to send back home to their friends and family. Local politicians know the airport, and any expansion, is a toxic issue for voters.
Tests at Frankfurt airport of steeper approach path at 4.5 degrees – details awaited
October 11, 2013 It has been reported that there have been some test flights of planes at Frankfurt airport, using steeper approaches. This is in order to try and reduce the amount of noise suffered by people living under the flight paths. At Frankfurt there have been sustained and massive protests, almost weekly, since the opening of the new runway, as people have been furious about the noise to which they are subjected. The trials took place on 17th September and involved a Boeing 767 which made 7 practice landings using an approach slope of 4.5 degrees, rather than the usual 3 degrees. It seemed that there was little change in the noise reported in places less than 6 or more kilometres from the runway, but there may be some benefit for those further away. A report to the UK Parliament Transport Select Committee earlier this year gave details, from BALPA, of the practical difficulties for pilots of trying to land on a 5.5 degree slope, rather than the 3 degrees, for which most commercial planes are designed. Click here to view full story…
Der Spiegel article: “Screaming for Quiet – Germans Crank Up Anti-Noise Protests”
October 9, 2013
An article in the German paper, Der Spiegel, says many Germans are getting fed up with all the noise pollution coming from planes, trains and cars. Despite numerous studies warning of associated health risks, politicians are merely giving lip service to the worries. The victims of rail noise in the Rhine Valley have teamed up with victims of airport noise in the Frankfurt region, and they are now calling for joint demonstrations in their respective state capitals. As well as the almost weekly protests against noise in the Frankfurt airport departure hall, citizens are also staging frequent protests against aircraft noise in Berlin, Cologne and Leipzig, as well as along the flight path into Zurich Airport. There are also protests against road noise. People are no longer willing to accept so much noise. Though it is now not in doubt that noise has health impacts, there remains uncertainty about how much noise is harmful and what the consequences are. But politicians, though starting to acknowledge the issue, continue to only make non-specific promises that there will be improvements. Nothing imminent. Click here to view full story…
Protest aircraft noise, making a lighted “runway” down the street
This is one of the creative Frankfurt airport noise protests http://www.fr-online.de/flughafen-frankfurt,2641734,21930880.html … where they have made a “runway” by their lighted torches
The 60th Monday demonstration on 13th May 2013
At the 60th regular Monday evening demo against aircraft noise in the Frankfurt airport terminal, the police estimated some 780 protesters. The protesters always have a different, higher, number than that of the police. The protesters sang, as they always do, their song
“The runway must go” (“Die Landebahn muss weg”). The placard reads “Aircraft noise not only makes you sick but also dead”. This time they also had serious concerns about increasing aircraft noise from a new pattern of take-offs, with planes allowed to boost power earlier. http://www.fr-online.de/flughafen-frankfurt,2641734,22703350.html
Roof tiles and ladybugs – Monday demonstrations on 9 April 2013
The recent demonstration against aircraft noise, the participants took on Monday night, 9 April tiles with – protest against the so-called wake vortices of low flying jets, which have covered in the Main-Taunus-city Florsheim roofs. The organizers of information about 2000 participants – the police spoke of 1,150 – but had also comforting to putting children distributed sweet ladybug to the Fraport staff as a thank you for the patience allmontägliche. http://www.fr-online.de/flughafen-frankfurt,2641734,22319570.html
Fraport delays building of 3rd terminal building for better times
3.12.2012 (Apologies for bad translation from German). The construction of the third terminal of Frankfurt airport operator Fraport is waiting for better times. The date of the start of construction is still to be decided and it will be built when there is the demand. To handle the predicted passenger number of about 90 million in 2020, a new terminal section adjacent to Terminal 1 for an additional 6 million passengers opened on October 10, 2012, and a large third terminal for 25 million passengers is scheduled to be built beginning in 2013. Frankfurt is currently experiencing a stagnation of air traffic. It had forecast 4% passenger growth, but this is down to 2 – 3%. The number of aircraft movements decreased compared to the previous year by 4.6%. The new terminal will be built on the site of the former U.S. air base in the south of the airport. Full article in the original in German at
There is Frapedia page, in German, about the Frankfurt campaign and what they have been doing with protests since the opening of the 4th runway in 2011. This is at
and a (very bad !) translation by Google into English at http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=856
There is also a website campaign by Frankfurt Airport, to try and drum up support for its expansion. Its website is called Ya zu Fra! (Yes to Fra!) at https://www.ja-zu-fra.org/
The Frankfurt anti-runway campaign has done a detailed critique of this campaign, at http://www.frapedia.de/mediawiki/index.php/Ja-zu-Fra saying it is an initiative by Fraport, Lufthansa and Condor, with massive advertising and billboard advertising, through International PR agency Burston-Marsteller At a first major rally “Yes to questions” those attending were almost exclusively employees of the companies involved. Fraport’s special buses took them from the airport and back, with free travel. Many of the claims by Fraport are questionned.
German Protests against night flights
and dozens of photos of the German protests on 24th November 2012 at
Aircraft noise protest picnic with drums, bagpipes, cans etc outside main police station in Frankfurt
August 28, 2012
In their continuing protests against aircraft noise from Frankfurt airport, a group of protesters set up a noisy protest, picnic and barbeque outside the main Frankfurt police station for two hours at the weekend. They had not only African drums, but a variety of other noisy instruments, including bagpipes, and tambourines – petrol cans etc, with which to make a racket. The sound-scape they produced aimed to fight noise with noise – creating a cacophony rather than a melody, as a change from the roaring of jets overhead that they now have to endure at home In addition, on Monday they held their usual Monday evening protest (there is one every Monday night) with a new protest anthem. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt airport protesters have picnic breakfast in the peace, away from aircraft noise, outside airport boss’ house
August 20, 2012 About 20 protesters against the unacceptable noise caused by Frankfurt airport met on Saturday morning to set up their picnic breakfast outside the house of the Frankfurt Airport boss. His house is in a quiet area, not overflown, unlike theirs. They just wanted, on this warm, heatwave morning, to enjoy breakfast in peace outdoors – something they can no longer do in their own homes and gardens. There were no slogans or chanting, but just a peaceful breakfast. And there was no sign of the boss, Schulte, whose shutters remained resolutely closed throughout. Click here to view full story…
The coffee is hot, the peace heavenly
Frankfurt protesters take their “holidays” in the airport terminal with all their holiday kit
July 3, 2012 The usual Monday evening protest at Frankfurt airport, against the aircraft noise that Frankfurt residents to the south of the city are now subjected to, took a slightly unusual turn this week. Protesters went on “holiday” at the terminal for the evening, with holiday clothes, Hawaiian shirts, straw hats, beach chairs, picnics, and even a paddling pool. Earlier they had a sleep protest, saying it was quieter to sleep in the airport than in their own homes, under the flight path. There are loads of their “holiday snaps” that tell the story. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt airport protesters sleep in the airport terminal – as it is too noisy at home
June 30, 2012 Dozens of protesters at Frankfurt have held a sleep-in at the Departures Terminal at Frankfurt airport. Their protest is against the aircraft noise, which is causing an intolerable situation, and they say they cannot sleep in their own homes, due to noisy night flights. Their banners say “We cannot sleep at home: night flight ban from 10pm to 6am !” Many say their homes suffer 80 decibel noise at night, with 60 decibels indoors. Though there is meant to be a total ban on night flights between 23:00 to 05:00 almost every night there are late arrivals and departures or flight tests. The nights are not quiet. People say they cannot live on only 6 hours sleep per night, and that is not enough to perform properly at work or at school. Click here to view full story…
8,000 Frankfurt protesters form a 4 km human chain to show their opposition to aircraft noise
June 25, 2012 About 8,000 protesters linked hands to form a human chain along the bank of the Main river, which they see as the boundary between the south of the city, badly affected by aircraft noise, and the quieter north. This included a massive Mexican wave along the line. Those campaigning against the noise from Frankfurt airport are calling for the extension of the ban on night flights from 2300 to 0500 or 2200 to 0600 and a cap on aircraft movements. The huge and effective German protests against aircraft noise started at Frankfurt, after the opening of the 4th runway that opened in October 2011. Now aircraft noise is being seen not as a regional problem but a national German problem, and also a European problem. Citizen groups across Germany are collaborating with each other, and with those in other countries. Click here to view full story…
New AirportWatch BLOG. The German Spring Takes Off
15th June 2012 On the weekend that campaigners occupy the centre of Munich, John Stewart outlines the story of the nationwide protests against airport expansion taking place in Germany, at Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich. And the implications this has for aviation policy in the UK. At a time when the industry is pressing once again for a third runway at Heathrow, it likes to give the impression there is little real opposition to expansion in the rest of Europe. The German experience tells a very different story. “It is impossible at this stage to predict what will happen in Germany. Or in France. But the protests have almost certainly changed the landscape forever. It is becoming increasingly difficult to expand airports anywhere in Western Europe. That is the new reality that governments and the aviation industry have got to face up to.” Read the blog
Peaceful protesters clash with police in Frankfurt at departure of pro-airport Mayor
June 12, 2012 There have been peaceful, but noisy, protests in the centre of Frankfurt, against the expansion of Frankfurt airport. The protests happened in the city centre, outside St Paul’s Church were Chancellor Angela Merkel was attending the retirement ceremony for the Mayor, Petra Roth. Angela Merkel praised Petra Roth as being one of the most successful mayors in Germany. The Mayor has been in favour of expansion of Frankfurt airport and the new runway, which has been the cause of the new aircraft noise problem that so many Frankfurt citizens are suffering. This protest, by perhaps 1,000 people, who threw foam balls, let off sparklers and banged drums, was in addition to the weekly protests against the noise that take place at the airport. There were some scuffles with the heavy police presence. Click here to view full story…
Lufthansa to cut 3,500 jobs in savings drive – 2,500 in Germany
May 4, 2012 Lufthansa, Germany’s biggest airline, announced plans to slash 3,500 administrative jobs around the world as it tries to offset soaring fuel costs and fierce competition in Europe to return to profitability. It says these job cuts will reduce its administrative costs by a quarter. Lufthansa has a workforce of about 117,000 people worldwide but it needs to radically cut costs to remain competitive. About 2,500 of the planned job losses will be in Germany. The high fuel price,a weak global economy and competition for passengers with fast-growing low-cost carriers and Middle East airlines are the problem. Other European airlines have also done less well recently than expected. Lufthansa said it will only increase seat capacity by 1% this year, not 2%. Click here to view full story…
Noise ban provides nightmares for German airports and airlines but better sleep for campaigning residents
April 21, 2012 GreenAir online has a long and comprehensive article about what has been going on in Germany recently, with the huge protests at Frankfurt against the 4th runway, and against night flights – which have now been stopped over a 6 hour period. Also the protests at Cologne Bonn Airport where there is now a night flight ban. And protests in Munich against plans for a new 3rd runway. There will also be a 6 hour night flight ban at Berlin’s new Brandenburg International Airport when it opens in June. Airlines like Lufthansa are complaining, and claiming they cannot run an efficient and profitable freight operation without night flights being permitted. The German Aviation Assoc claims there are no such bans at Amsterdam, Paris, London or Dubai. But the German opposition has been very effecive and got results. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt night flight ban between 11pm and 5am upheld by higher court
April 6, 2012 A German court on Wednesday ruled in favor of a night flight ban at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third busiest, dealing a blow to German flagship airline Lufthansa and airport operator Fraport. Lufthansa says it needs Frankfurt night flights so its cargo operations can compete with fast-growing Gulf airports and it will be hit financially if there is a ban. In 2009 the local government said it would allow 17 flights between 11 pm and 5am from the end of October 2011 on economic grounds. Then residents under the flight paths took the case to court. Their complaint was upheld in October by a local court just before the opening of the 4th runway. Now a judge at a higher court in Leipzig confirmed the ban and said the federal state of Hesse must make a new decision on whether to allow night flights. This will have implications for other European airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle and Heathrow. Click here to view full story…
Thousands gather at German airports to protest against aircraft noise
March 27, 2012 On Saturday 24th, thousands across Germany – perphaps as many as 30,000 – took part in protests at airports, against airport expansion and aircraft noise. At Frankfurt airport there were around 10,000 people, wanting a night flight ban from 22:00 until 6:00 and a cap on the number of take-offs and landings each day. At Berlin there were about 10,000 protesters against the planned new Brandenburg airport. And at Munich airport, over 500 people had a picnic in the terminal, protesting against a planned 3rd runway, the decision on which is due in June. There were also protests at Halle, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Bonn and Cologne – as well as at Nantes. Click here to view full story…
Saturday 24th March: Tens of Thousands expected at Nationwide Protests against Airport Expansion in Germany
March 22, 2012 Same Day: Major demonstration in Nantes in SW France
UK airport campaigners have sent messages of support to their fellow campaigners in Germany and France who will be staging major demonstrations against airport expansion on Saturday 24th March. In Germany tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out in at least five cities. In Frankfurt as many as 20,000 people could occupy the terminal. And, in Munich the campaigners against the proposed 3rd runway will hold as picnic in the terminal. In Nantes the demonstrators will occupy the centre of the city. There will also be protests in Berlin, Cologne and Leipzig. This gives the lie to the impression always given by the UK aviation industry that airports in Europe will continue to expand. They will not do so without immense and powerful opposition. Click here to view full story…
Frankfurt night flights between 11pm and 5am to be banned
March 15, 2012 The Frankfurt campaigners have won a partial night flight ban at Frankfurt in the teeth of opposition from the airlines and the regional government. The local government had allowed 17 flights per night between 11pm and 5am. The High Court has now ruledt ht there is a ban on all flights between 11pm and 5am. The number of hours of the ban is similar to the one that operates, in theory, at Heathrow (11.30 – 4.30) but it is a significant achievement for the campaigners. There can still be a total of 133 flights over the full period of 10pm to 6am – do during the periods of 10 – 11pm and 5 – 6am. The campaigners at Frankfurt say: “This Frankfurt decision will encourage you all at Paris, London and Amsterdam, but as well at Madrid, Barcelona and other airports of Europe. Frankfurt will be the first big Hub having a night flight restrictions!” Click here to view full story…
Munich could become a German Heathrow if local opposition manages to block 3rd runway plans
March 2, 2012 John Stewart and some other campaigners recently visited Germany, to see the current protests against airport expansion there. John has written about their visit. He says campaigners are getting organised to oppose the planned building of a new 3rd runway at Munich. The case for a new runway there is weak because the existing runways are nowhere near capacity, most of the flights from Munich are domestic so could transfer to rail, and there is very low unemployment in the area. Visiting Frankfurt, they attended one of the regular Monday evening protests. The movement there driven by the concern about climate change, have brought together a first-rate coalition of environmental activists, local residents, sympathetic politicians and academic experts. They are a considerable force to be reckoned with. Click here to view full story…
Court ends Frankfurt Airport strike
29 Feb 2012 (The Local: Germany’s news in English) Striking workers at Frankfurt Airport must return to work after a court Wednesday slapped a temporary injunction on walkouts that have grounded flights at Europe’s third-busiest hub for two weeks. Judge Matthias Kreutzberg-Kowalczyk granted an application for an injunction filed by airport operator Fraport and German airline Lufthansa against walkouts by apron control staff, who have been striking since February 16 over demands for higher pay. The GdF union of air traffic workers said it would appeal the ruling, which obliges workers to call off industrial action that had initially been scheduled to run until Thursday. http://www.thelocal.de/national/20120229-41041.html
Aircraft Noise demos from Frankfurt to Berlin. Thousands of German noise opponents protest in several cities
February 4, 2012
There have been major protests at several German airports today, against aircraft noise, with whistles, drums and banners. There were about 20,000 protestors at Frankfurt protesting against noise from the new runway that opened in October. This was the largest protest at the airport since the opening . The police estimated the number of participants to 7,700, the organizers – a coalition of citizens’ groups against the airport expansion – spoke of 20,000 people. There were also demonstrations at Berlin, Leipzig, Munich and Dusseldorf. Click here to view full story…
The anti noise protests continue in Germany with much debate on the noise impact of airport expansion
February 1, 2012
Several articles from German news websites, badly translated in to English, but giving a feeling of what is happening in Germany, and how the protests against the unexpectedly bad noise produced by the new Frankfurt airport runway, opened in October, are having an impact politically. The Germans, in their thousands (and these are articulate and purposeful Germans protesting) are not going to put up with the new noise intrusion into their lives, and especially not at night, whatever Fraport (the airport) and Lufthansa say about the night flights being essential for business. The benefits are far less than the social harm the night flights are doing, and the ability to quietly enjoy their homes without a flight path overhead is not something that the residents near Frankfurt airport are prepared to lose. Click here to view full story…
Protests continue each week at Frankfurt against the noise from the 4th runway which opened in October.
A German airport campaigner – and local Frankfurt resident – reports from Frankfurt:
20.1.2012 Last Monday was manifestation number 7 after the opening of the new runway at the end of Oct 2011. We meet always Monday at 6pm , have our own microphones and speakers (with batteries) and are always between 2500 – 500 people. You are welcome at Terminal I Section B (=international flights) . It is a warm, well usable place, with toilets and high speed and local train communication.
Protest against aircraft noise: News from the Wutbürgern
Round Frankfurt, not only are the land prices are pretty lofty, but now so are the problems. It’s about airplanes, the roar high up over the gardens of the upper class and so the homeowners are up in arms. With the opening of the new north-west runway the aircraft noise is so unbearable that even distinguished people forget their upbringing and become vociferous protesters. (29.01.12) Video clip (in German) at http://www.spiegel.de/video/video-1175297.html
Bit of background about German politics and German airports, from a member of the Frankfurt campaign
Some laws depend on the Land (Hessen for the airport expansion in Frankfurt).
General law for air pollution and noise levels comes from the BUND (Berlin).
But the government in Berlin (Parliament=Bundestag / Merkel) cannot make or change any law which concerns the Länder (Hessen) without the agreement of the Bundesrat (second chamber).
The problem is that Merkel (CDU/FDP) can propose a law but she depends for its implementation on the Bundesrat/Länder in which she doesn’t have a majority (SPD/Grüne) anymore.
That is why in Hessen our Mr. Bouffier (CDU) and Mr. Posch (FDP), who are at the moment governing Hessen, are unable to use Berlin (CDU/FDP) to change a law which would concern Germany.
In other words, construction issues concerning Frankfurt airport can largely be decided by Hessen. That is why there is a stiff competition between Frankfurt and Munich airports. The airport witch the lowest level of restriction is the winner in this game. Lufthansa is using this by saying: “If you hinder us in Frankfurt we can go to Munich” (or Zürich, which is even worse).
Issues like general noise levels, and air pollution are national law (Luftverkehrsgesetz) and in principle the same for the entire country of Germany.
BUT they can only be changed with the agreement of the Länder. You can imagine the machinations going on behind closed doors.
In fact Germany is in the middle of a general change. People are totally disgusted by politics. That is why they now have a new party called “Die Piraten”, meaning “the pirates”.
Nobody understands actually what they are standing for, but people elect them as a protest against established parties. As they gain between 10 and 15% of the votes, it becomes very difficult for established parties to form coalitions.
That is why small changes in votes can provoke political landslides (in Frankfurt the CDU lost the election because of a change in areas near to the airport). In 2013 the same could happen to the CDU/FDP coalition in Hessen.
The Frankfurt campaigners recommend openly not to vote for these parties. Managers of FRAPORT and Lufthansa occasionally complain about shrinking support of these politicians for projects decided together earlier. The anti airport campaginers couldn’t be more delighted.
Frankfurt airport – protest continues
January 21, 2012
German article about the continuing protests most Mondays (first this year on 16th Jan) at Frankfurt airport, by hundreds or thousand, who are profoundly disturbed by – and opposed to – the new noise nuisance caused by flights from the runway that was opened in October 2011. The protesters include wealthy citizens, as well as students and environmental activists. Lufthansa is arguing that it should be allowed a large proportion of the night flights that are permitted. The matter goes to the Federal Administrative Court in March 2012 for decision. Click here to view full story…
Protesters at Frankfurt airport (picture archive from November 2011)
Big Protests in Frankfurt over 4th Runway
Every Monday over 1,000 people gather in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport to protest against the impact of the 4th Runway which was opened on 21st October. The new runway has created noise problems for over 100,000 newresidents. 20,000 people took part in a demonstration the day before it opened. Although the authorities have (reluctantly) agreed to ban flights between 23.00 hours and 05.00 hours, a huge number of people are suffering as a result of the new runway. The runway was only built after a bitter battle with local residents and environmentalists. (sueddeutsche.de )
Protests against new runway at Frankfurt Wutbürger in Terminal 1
Lufthansa Cargo eyes replacing MD-11F fleet, predicts no growth in 2012
January 31, 2012 (Air Transport World)
Garnadt said he expects no growth in 2012. “Currently we are 10% down compared to last year. The demand is much weaker,” he said.
LHC’s 2012 profitability outlook was strong until last fall when Frankfurt Airport (FRA) announced its decision to ban night flights from Oct. 30, 2011. The ban, which affected 10 LHC nighttime slots in its winter schedule, cost the carrier €20 million ($26.4 million) in 2011 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 24, 2011).
Garnadt said if the court does not lift the ban, the carrier stands to lose €40 million in 2012. He said LHC had planned to lease two more freighters for the coming summer schedule but has “axed” those plans.
Garnadt said that if the court reverses the ban, the carrier will “switch some important night flights [back] to FRA from July.” He said that 50% of LHC’s business is high-value express cargo.
Links to some of the press and TV coverage of the demonstrations in Frankfurt where up to 5,000 people occupy the terminal every Monday in protest against the noise from the fourth runway. Some interesting video -sadly all in German. See below.
A bit of history. IATA Welcomes Decision on Frankfurt’s 4th Runway. January 2009
Frankfurt Airport Expansion Enrages Residents – December 2007
19.12.2007 Frankfurt airport, one of the world’s biggest hubs, has received the go-ahead to build a new terminal and runway. The regional government says the €4 billion expansion will create 40,000 jobs. But residents and environmental groups are furious at a decision to allow night flights, and plan a wave of lawsuits. Horst Schneider, mayor of the Frankfurt-area city of Offenbach, said the increased noise of aircraft landing and taking off will hit his community especially hard. “We will use all legal means, right up to the EU level if necessary,” he said. Schneider said some 150,000 people will be negatively affected by the expansion. Unlike protected animal species, people couldn’t simply be moved elsewhere, he said.(Spiegel Online)
Fernsehen und Radio (TV and Radio)
ZDF, Frontal 21: Ärger über Berlin-Schönefeld, 24.1.2012: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/1550384/%C3%84rger-%C3%BCber-Berlin-Sch%C3%B6nefeld
ZDF, Mittagsmagazin: Streit um Hauptstadtflughafen, 24.1.2012: http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/#/beitrag/video/1549816/Streit-um-Hauptstadtflughafen
HR, Hessenschau, Stadtverordnete tagen im Terminal 1, 24.1.2012: http://www.hr-online.de/website/rubriken/nachrichten/indexhessen34938.jsp?rubrik=34938
SWR, Demonstration gegen Fluglärm, 23.1.2012: http://www.swr.de/landesschau-aktuell-rp/-/id=233240/did=9185732/pv=video/nid=233240/tjjulc/
Sat 1: Diskussion um den Frankfurter Flughafen, 25.1.2012: http://www.1730live.de/
Presse zum Flughafen Berlin: